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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Staff Development: Games for the Classroom

All students and teachers like to play games so this is an easy staff development to deliver. The teachers enjoy it and as a result are likely to try a game or two with their own students. I have put ten of the least complicated games together in a logical order, and they all can be played with one set of questions. The questions are very important and should be elementary so that teachers know most of the answers. I usually use something equivalent to 3rd grade history questions. History is something that all people know something about, and they can usually answer some questions correctly. Regardless of what subject or subjects you use, be sure to keep the questions simple. You can even throw in nonsense questions like the street the school is on, the school phone number, the school mascot, etc. I also repeat the questions over and over again so that teachers, who are now students, achieve success quickly. This helps build enthusiasm for the staff development session. Now that you have your questions, it is time to move on to the presentation. The presentation should be student-centered in nature; if you want teachers to take ownership on any teaching strategy, they must learn the strategy as a participant not as just a listener. All games below can be played in 5 to 15 minute blocks and this makes it easy to get a lot done in a short period of time. Below is the list of the games you are to use in your presentation. Each game has been linked to its directions as you will need to prepare yourself to lead each game. You will note after reading game directions that the first three games are all played by individuals, the next two are played in groups, and the last four are played as teams. To save time during a staff development presentation, you would do all the individual games, then the group games, and lastly the team games.

1. SMART
2. Lucky Numbers
3. Basketball
4. Give and Receive
5. Relay
6. Around the Room
7. Baseball
8. Football
9. Volleyball

The hardest part of this staff development is learning how to play all the games. You can not teach a game if you do not know all the rules and are not able to explain away problems that may arise. Of course one procedure I always used in the classroom is that I am the final judge in all games and whatever I say goes. This procedure is in effect when I am doing staff development presentations as well. If you do not feel comfortable doing the entire staff development yourself, I would recommend that you employ the divide and conquer rule. This means that you would select members from your leadership team to present a part of the game list. I do recommend that you keep the list in order and have the first person present games 1-3, the second person present games 4 and 5, the third person present games 6 and 7, the fourth person present 8 and 9. These divisions create good timing and the easiest set-up. Now that you have your presenters, you need to decide where your staff development will be held. If you have a small staff then I recommend the cafeteria as you can set up things in advance and in different sections of the cafeteria. If you have a large staff then I recommend dividing you staff into four groups since you have four presenters. You will give each presenter a session number 1-4. You will divide your faculty into four groups and set up a simple rotation. For example, Group #1 will rotate through all four sessions starting with #1 and ending with #4. Group #2 will rotate 2, 3, 4, and 1. Group #3 will rotate 3, 4, 1, and 2. Group #4 will rotate 4, 1, 2, and 3. This keeps groups small, which is a very good strategy on your first staff development presentation. Getting your leadership team and lead teachers involved in staff development presentations gives your leadership team creditability. Teachers are impressed when the leaders can function as a teacher and will be more likely to listen to his/her suggestions in the future. All of us in education must be a teacher first if we are truly in the business of helping kids.

If you need additional assistance with this presentation idea, please email me at smmcnamee@comcast.net.
If your computer does not have a program that allows you to click and send email then cut and paste my address into your own email program.

To find more Staff Development Tips go to the Staff Development Tips Page.

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